Wow, really wasn't expecting that!! Here's how it went down...
The swim took place in the Sydney Harbour right in front of the opera house. It was a spectacular venue but the water was really choppy which made for another difficult swim. I chose to start on the far left and I took a bad line towards the first buoy, so I was in the middle of chaos going around the first turn. I was much further back than I would have liked after the first lap. For the whole swim I was thinking about how bad of a swim I was having, really not the best mind set to be in, but I put my head down and managed to make up quite a bit of ground on the second lap. I came out in a much better position than I thought I was in, and quickly rode up to the leaders. Relief!
The bike course was very technical with three 180 degree turns on each of the 9 laps. Specialized gave out a $500 prime on every lap at the top of a hill, which made for lots of surging and chasing and bridging gaps. It was a deceivingly difficult bike course because of the hills and sprinting out of each turn. Specialized gave me my brand new S-works Amira with Zipp wheels the day before the race, so thankfully I had a speedy machine to get me through it! I had a good knock to the head during the swim which made one of my contacts slide out of place, and it eventually fell out on the second lap of the bike. The same thing happened to me in Kitzbuhel last year so I had some experience riding with blurry and distorted vision! It was difficult to see the pot holes and I spent more time focusing on seeing properly than I did on staying in good position, so unfortunately I was in the middle or back of the pack for most of the ride. Again, I was so relieved to start the run, definitely the safest of the three sports, not much can go wrong there! Except maybe getting hit in the head with a water bottle?..
I had a bad transition, same old story, so had to make up about 20 seconds to the leaders right off the bat. I settled in with them by the first turnaround. Everyone is telling me how comfortable and in-contol I looked on the run, but it certainly did not feel like it at all! My legs felt good, but there were tons of surges on the up and downhills and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to respond to every single one. I felt like I was on the verge of getting dropped the whole time. Everyone was relentless and it was a very fast pace. On the last lap it came down to Barbara, Andrea and I, and I was really expecting them to run away from me. Barb made a gap on the uphill, which I somehow managed to close, and I went by her on the last corner. I didn't look over my shoulder, just ran as fast as I possibly could, but I did't think it would be fast enough to hold off those charging girls. I definitely doubted myself too many times in this race! Man, sprint finishes are stressful. I was so shocked when I crossed the finish line.
So although this race wasn't completely smooth sailing, I couldn't have started off the year any better. I'm not letting the result get to my head as it's a very long season and I have lots of racing in front of me, but it's a great confidence booster to know that I'm on the right track. Everyone is going to get fitter and faster from here, so I have to try and do the same!
I couldn't have had this success without the help of so many people, too many to name, but I have to give a special mention Patrick, Sam, and John. They were with us for our month-long adventure in Australia and they did so much work to make sure that our group was healthy, happy, and training hard. I'm not always the cheeriest person to be around, so thanks for putting up with me :).
I'm back in Victoria now and racing the Vancouver Sun Run 10km next weekend. This is a really fun race and it's where I got my 10k PB last year, so I'm excited to see if I can improve on my time a little. My mom is coming with me to do the race, and then I'll go back to Edmonton for a few days to visit my family and friends. After lots of discussion and debating I've decided not to race in Yokohama this year, so my next triathlon won't be until June 4th in Madrid. Lots of time to get in a good bunch of training!
Thanks so much for the massive support everyone. I know I haven't responded to every single message but please know that I appreciate it so much and couldn't do it without you all.